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Aiming for Zero Waste

What is Zero Waste?

The most effective way to reduce our impact on the environment and save money on our garbage bill is to make less garbage in the first place. Innovative people have shown how individuals and businesses can seriously lessen the consumption of resources and production of waste.

Here is an optimal list of waste reduction strategies for Santa Cruz County:

  • Purchase durable and repairable products instead of single use throw-aways
  • Take bags to the store and shop carefully in order to bring less packaging home
  • Bring sealable containers when eating out to take home leftovers
  • Leave grass cuttings on the lawn as mulch
  • Compost at home – Learn how here
  • Rent or borrow tools and equipment you will rarely use
  • Use the recycling services listed in the Where To Recycle Guide
  • Use the available Materials Reuse Networks to find new homes for good things
  • Consult with the Environmental Shopping Guide when planning purchases

Special to businesses

  • Make two-sided copies to reduce paper usage.
  • Use e-mail or voice mail instead of paper memos whenever possible.
  • Use the recycling services listed in the Business Recycling Guide.
  • Locate and/or expand a recycling-based manufacturing businesses within the four-county central
    California coast region with help from the Central Coast Recycling Market Development Zone.
  • Purchase durable, repairable and recyclable products made from post-consumer recycled feed stocks.

When recycling is offered, it is always a better option than sending something to the landfill. The high level of recycling in our county saves significant amounts of energy, resources and landfill capacity. However, 90% of the energy and resources consumed in a product's lifecycle were used to put the product on the shelf the first time. If we can avoid the purchase or reduce the amount of product or packaging we buy, the positive impact on the environment is multiplied many times beyond simply recycling the product or package afterwards

The cycle in "recycle" happens when the items we sort from the trash are made into a new product which is put to use a second time. We really make the recycling program work when we buy products made from post-consumer recycled materials.